That said, it’s true that just before Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office projected that that year’s deficit would be $1.2 trillion. Yet after Obama came into office, it went up to $1.4 trillion. In that same report, the CBO projected deficits during Obama’s first term (2009 through 2012) of $2.6 trillion. That cumulative number is now expected to reach $5.2 trillion, or about double.
Also in Baltimore, Obama boasted that, “spending under my administration has grown more slowly than under any president in 60 years.” But what makes it possible to theoretically make that argument is that between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, spending skyrocketed by 18 percent to over $3.5 trillion. So after 2009, Obama could claim that spending grew at a slow rate, but that was only relative to the historically elevated levels.
Obama’s defenders argue that Bush should be held responsible for the huge spike spending in 2009, because he was president for the first four months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2008. Yet 2009 includes Obama’s economic stimulus package and several spending bills that were OK’d under Obama’s watch. Furthermore, though Bush signed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, Obama voted for it as senator, advocated for it as a presidential candidate and lobbied the Democratic Congress to release the second batch of money while he was president-elect.